Tag Archives: praying for marriage bed

Pray for My Inbox

Blog post title + email envelope with cursor pointing at it

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been really thinking about my email inbox, and how many wonderful readers have reached out to tell me their personal story and ask for advice. There really is no end to the questions people have about sexual intimacy in their marriages, and so many of them are excellent inquiries that deserve answer.

But here’s the thing. This is what my current inbox looks like:

Display of j@hotholyhumorous.com inbox title with 333 messages

At this point, the earliest message in my 333-message inbox dates back to May 2016. That’s probably when the tipping point happened: When I could no longer respond to all the messages, because there were just so many and I am just, well, me. As much as I’d love to borrow Santa’s elves to contract out the important work of gifting people with advice, I don’t have that perk. I just cannot get to all the queries — not anywhere near it.

Now, I do read each and every one. But if I tried to answer them all, I’d probably never write another word here on the blog and my family would, at some point, open the pantry and refrigerator to find them bare. (Yes, my guys know where the store is and are capable, but in my house, division of labor means grocery shopping is my task.)

What I can do is:

1. Answer the ones I can, either in a personal email or a post. And those tend to be questions that I haven’t answered before or dire situations.

Oftentimes, the questioner could find something relevant on my blog by using the search bar up there. (Or type in “Hot Holy Humorous” and your topic in Google, and you sometimes get better results that way.) And really, truly … buy one of my books! I have a lot of answers in those.

Intimacy Revealed Cover

2. Pray for the ones I can’t answer. Look, I think I’m good at what I do — writing about sexuality from a Christian perspective — or I wouldn’t do it. But I have no false notions about who really does the work, makes the changes, improves sexual intimacy in marriage: it’s not me. At all. It’s the spouses themselves and God. I am not a required component for these marriage beds to get better.

Moreover, I’m not the only one with insight in the area of sexual intimacy. Thankfully, the number of voices speaking up well for godly sex in marriage has increased in the last ten years, and some counselors and pastors also address this issue very well. Sometimes, what I pray is that the questioners will find help elsewhere, especially when a couple likely needs local counseling or coaching.

What I ask today is that my readers add these questioners to their prayer list. God knows their names. You only have to pray for those seeking righteous answers for difficult challenges in their marriage beds.

Pray for those seeking righteous answers for difficult challenges in their marriage beds. Click To Tweet

You can specifically mention “Hot, Holy & Humorous’s inbox,” if you wish. Or cry out more broadly for a revival of healthy and holy marriage beds in the Church and in our society.

Praying specifically for people by name is a wonderful thing, and what I get to do when I receive these emails. But the Bible has many precedents of believers praying for large groups of people, distinguishing them by their status or behaviors. Jesus Himself prayed “not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message” (John 17:20). That’s a pretty big group of people.

My inbox represents so many issues Christians face in the realm of marital intimacy: minor problems that need fixing, questions about right and wrong regarding sexual intimacy, worry or resentment toward spouses who’ve sexually misbehaved, sexual baggage dragged into the marriage from prior painful experiences, the vast gamut of libido concerns, and more.

When you pray for my inbox, you’re praying for marriages. And marriage beds.

God is concerned about those marriage beds too. Let’s bring these people before His throne and ask for His presence, His guidance, His answers.

Praying When You Don’t Know What to Pray

As I contemplated what to say about prayer this Saturday, as part of my ongoing series about praying for your marriage bed, I felt empty. What else could I possibly cover? But then a passage from Romans came to mind—in that pushy way that scriptures sometimes do, as if the Holy Spirit is whispering, “Listen up, this one’s for you.”

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

Question mark with blog post title

And that, I suppose, is our prayer when we don’t know what we ought to pray for. It’s that moment of saying that we feel weak when it comes to our sexual intimacy, that our own strength isn’t enough to deal with the problems in our bedroom or to simply foster what we know our marriage should have.

It’s wishing that the Spirit would search our heart and see the good motives yet the heartache or exhaustion we feel surrounding this issue. Or simply seeing the few hangups that remain, even when we have good sexual intimacy in marriage overall.

It’s needing to know that God has it covered — that He’s working for our good. It’s trusting that God can and will care for those who love Him.

Yes, I know this passage is about salvation and living out our faith, about persisting through earthly struggles that threaten our relationship with God and our belief in Christ. I agree with those who say we need to consider the clear intent of any scripture in the Bible and not mistakenly apply something where it was never meant to be applied.

However, I also believe in underlying principles in the Bible — that the character of God, the virtues extolled in Scripture, the calling we have remains constant in every area of lives. Whether you’re in a Bible class, a boardroom, or the bedroom, your faith should be there with you.

So even this passage speaks to who we are in the marriage bed — about our need admit our weakness, to trust God’s goodness, and to just go before Him, wordless and knowing that He understands where we are and will be there with us.

Maybe that’s what you need to do today. Maybe your prayer is simply admitting that you don’t know what to pray for, but you want God involved in your life and in your marriage.

Intimacy Revealed ad, click to buy book

Praying Before, During, and After Sex

Some time back, a reader challenged me to cover praying about sexual intimacy right in the middle of the act itself.

I thought it was a great idea! Unfortunately, I didn’t think I was the right person to write it, because Spock and I don’t do that. In fact, while some people apparently talk quite a bit during their sexual encounters, others of us have difficulty forming coherent sentences while in the throes of passion. I feel pretty sure that any attempt to pray aloud during sex would merely result in something like Romans 8:26 describes: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (ESV).

However, I have at times imagined God’s presence in the room. That more meditation than praying, but it helped me to view the physical experience of making love as having a spiritual component that delights our Heavenly Father. So I appreciate the importance of acknowledging God in our moment of sexual intimacy.

With that in mind, let’s cover some ideas for praying before, during, and after sex.

Blog post title + husband and wife hands clasped on bed

Before.

Praying beforehand is often the easiest sell, because many spouses understand how prayer could help them have the right mindset going into the sexual encounter. If you’re struggling with getting in the mood, you can pray for God to awaken your desire. If you’ve experienced difficulty connecting recently, you can pray for unity in your pleasure and intimacy. If you’ve had a hard time sharing your body, you can pray to see your nakedness in the marriage bed as God and your spouse see it — that is, beautiful. You can also simply thank God for this opportunity to express and nurture intimacy.

It could be worthwhile to pray specific scriptures, adapting them to what you’re about to do. Here are a couple of brief examples:

Husband: Lord, how beautiful is my wife, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Thank you for the beauty she displays inside and out.

WifeHow handsome is my husband, my beloved!
    Oh, how charming!
    Lord, may our bed be verdant.

Together: Lord, we ask you to rejoice and delight in us as we engage in sexual intimacy. 

Song of Songs 1:15-16, 1:4

We know that at the beginning of creation You made us male and female. For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife — as we did — and the two become one flesh. Indeed, we are no longer two, but one flesh. Bless our physical union tonight so that we both express and foster that deep intimacy You gave to marriage alone. Your Son said, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Join us together physically, emotionally, and spiritually in Your sight and take pleasure in our sexual intimacy.

Mark 10:6-9

Intimacy Revealed ad, click to buy book

During.

It might be easier to pray during early foreplay than when things get more hot-and-heavy. One lovely idea I’ve heard is praying over one another’s bodies; that is, as you view and touch one another, stop at various places to thank God for how He crafted that body part. Such an exercise might mimic the passages in Song of Songs chapter 4 or chapter 5 in which the husband and then the wife praise one another’s bodies, but instead directing those thoughts to the Creator Himself.

Another reader wrote me and shared that after he enters his wife, they pause and give glory to God before continuing. Such a prayer would certainly focus your mind on embracing this act in marriage as one of God’s good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). You can pause at penetration or any other time during lovemaking to thank God for His provision of physical intimacy in marriage.

Finally, let me just note that screaming, “Oh my God!” in the middle of an orgasm doesn’t technically count as praying. Though I suppose one could tag on a thank you or some such statement to make it qualify. 😉

After.

Lying in one another’s arms, enjoying the afterglow of sexual intimacy, you could pray for the encounter you just had. Thank your Heavenly Father for the pleasure you experienced, the vulnerability you showed one another, the connection you felt, and the overall blessing of one another.

Consider Ephesians 5:31-32 and how this illuminates what you can pray about:  ” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

The sexual intimacy you have mirrors the relationship of God to His people, which He often compares to a husband and wife. This comparison appears not only in Ephesians, but in other places like Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:19, and 2 Corinthians 11:2. Keeping that in mind, it’s good not only to give God gratitude for the lovemaking act but for this glimpse at the intimacy God desires to have with us.

So what do y’all think? Have you ever prayed before, during, or after sex? If so, how have you approached God in prayer and how has that experience impacted you and your marriage bed?

same image as above, sized for Pinterest

A Prayer for Those in Sexless Marriages

Thank goodness for the Houston Astros being in the World Series! Or this whole month might have just been me brooding about the sad state of our world. (Sorry, Yankees fans, but again…you’ve been FORTY times in the World Series, and this is our SECOND. You can take it.)

In the world of sex, however, I’ve been struck the last several weeks by the many #MeToo stories and how those have negatively impacted how wives view their bodies, men in general, and sexual intimacy. Indeed, this is the topic of an upcoming podcast episode of Sex Chat for Christian Wives which we recorded last night.

And here on my blog, we’ve been talking about sexless marriages and what to do, along my personal struggle to provide answers that actually help a tough situation.

So many spouses are in a state of deep anxiety, and this verse really hit me today:

Anxiety weighs down the human heart,
    but a good word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25).

I really want to give y’all a “good word.” Today, I thought the best thing I could do is offer a prayer for sexless marriages. I hope you’ll pray with me.

blog post title + woman praying outside with sunrise in back of her

Lord, Father,

We know that You desire spouses to be one flesh that no one should separate, even a spouse within the marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). But some spouses have stepped away from sexual intimacy, leaving their mate feeling sad, frustrated, and lonely.

Your Word that You are close to the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). So many in sexless marriages are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit; Lord, be near to them now. Make Your presence known in the midst of their hardship.

Although understanding is elusive, we affirm that You are present and will walk with us in the worst of circumstances (Isaiah 43:1-2). Indeed, Your Son and our Lord Jesus Christ experienced the deepest of sorrows, abandoned by others and suffering on a cross, and You brought Him through. When it seemed hopeless, You resurrected our Savior. We pray for that same power of resurrection to bring a reawakening of sexual intimacy in marriages where it’s been lacking (Ephesians 1:19-20).

Surround these couples with believers who can speak into their situation, who can provide wisdom for pursuing reconciliation. Give Your Church the yearning and the resources to speak not with timidity but with power and love in favor of Your design for sex in marriage — for regular, mutually satisfying physical intimacy (2 Timothy 1:7). Help those of us who can minister to sexless marriages to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) and offer godly wisdom (Colossians 3:16).

We pray for those called to minister and teach on marriage and sexuality, for we are imperfect and stumble in our words (James 3:1-2). Help Your message come through, despite the flaws of Your messengers. Humble us to understand that we don’t have the answers so much as You are the answer. May all our “solutions” ultimately point to You.

Open the eyes and the ears, the heart and the mind of the refusing spouse (Isaiah 32:3), so they truly see the emotional pain of their spouse and be convicted of the significance of sexual intimacy in their marriage. Guide them to see that sex isn’t just for their spouse, but for their own heart and soul. Help them to see the beauty of being fully known and valued in the marriage bed (Song of Songs 2:3-5). 

Give the refused spouse compassion for their spouse and what they’ve been missing out on as well. Give them the right words to express their emotional pain and to break through the emotional barriers. Help them to be peacemakers as they pursue sexual intimacy for their marriage (Matthew 5:9). Refresh them in their weariness (Jeremiah 31:25).

Lord, above all give us love for one another. Help us in our marriages and in our churches to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). And give us Your ultimate rest in Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-29). Let Your love show through us (1 John 4:11-12).

In the name of Your Son and through the Holy Spirit, we pray.

Amen.

Intimacy Revealed ad, click to buy book

My Biggest Problem with “Pray for Your Marriage”

It’s October, and I’m still talking about prayer! That’s because my goal this year has been to pray more, especially for marriage.

I’ve encouraged you to be praying for your marriage and your marriage bed as well, including unity with your spouse, sexual temptation, and perspective. And I’ve been encouraged by you sharing your prayer habits and thoughts. But today I want to tackle one of the problems I see with the ongoing appeal to “pray for your marriage.”

blog post title + black-and-white image of woman praying (close-up)

Sometimes prayer is touted as the cure-all to every ill in marriage and life. You’re arguing with your husband? Pray for unity. You’re struggling with your sex drive? Pray for its awakening. You’re battling a porn habit? Pray for release. You’re two steps away from divorce? Pray for restoration of your marriage.

And all of that is great. You definitely should “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). The problem is when we stop there and make it sound like prayer will resolve all of your issues.

But prayer is communication with God, and we have to also listen to what He says in those moments and in His Word and then apply it to our lives.

I know this from experience, because in the pit-dwelling years of my marriage, I prayed. A LOT. Everything from quiet reflection with God, to Scripture-focused prayer, to yelling and crying at Him for help. It felt like He wasn’t answering my prayer, because hadn’t He promised to deliver me? Psalm 91:14 says it this way:

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16).

I was acknowledging His name regularly, loudly, desperately, yet my marriage slipped further and further into a black hole of despair.

Ah, the power of hindsight! It frankly makes me want to kick that younger me who expected God to fix everything while I continued to hold on to my mistaken viewpoints, my poor habits, and my selfish plans.

Let’s flip a couple of pages further in Psalms and learn more the character of God:

Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
  the one you teach from your law;
you grant them relief from days of trouble,
  till a pit is dug for the wicked (Psalm 94:12-13).

Wow, that doesn’t sound nearly as awesome as Superhero God swooping in to rescue me with little effort on my part — just holding on to His caped person while He flies me away from trouble. But that ignores that God wants us to be a part of the plan.

Or rather, that IS the plan. Our Lord longs to rescue us, but He won’t swoop in when He knows that we need to grow more through the experience.

Hot, Holy & Humorous book ad

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com & Kobo

Imagine God like a father with a toddler learning to walk. If the dad grabs his daughter every time it looks like she might fall, she won’t ever take those first steps. Instead, He’s there the whole time, listening to us, teaching us, scooping us up and comforting us when we stumble, and helping us learn to walk and then to run.

Prayer is inviting God into that experience. It’s reaching out your arms, looking directly at your Father, and walking toward Him. And then, applying what you’ve learned to the life you lead.

You have to act. What actions you need to take depend on your situation. But let’s take the issues I mentioned above:

  • You’re arguing with your husband? Pray for unity. And take an in-depth look at what changes you need to make, speak candidly and calmly with your husband, and consider attending a marriage course or getting marriage counseling.
  • You’re struggling with your sex drive? Pray for its awakening. And see your doctor to determine if there are health issues involved, check out a low libido resource like the online course from Sheila Gregoire or the devotional study from Bonny Burns, and listen to our podcast for regular tips on improving sexual intimacy.
  • You’re battling a porn habit? Pray for release. And confess your struggle to your spouse and a trusted mentor in your church, install filters on your computer or get rid of devices that tempt you, and seek out ministries that can help you break free like XXX Church.
  • You’re two steps away from divorce? Pray for restoration of your marriage. And see a counselor, either with your husband or without, to figure out what you can do to actively work toward reconciliation, and tell a church leader what’s going on and invite their intervention.

Also, let me add that the times when this advice to “just pray for your marriage” make me crazy are when:

  1. A spouse is serially unfaithful. If your spouse doesn’t give a hoot about the damage they’re doing to your marriage with their infidelity, you don’t cower in your closet and simply pray. Yes, you pray mightily, but you also set boundaries and leave if they don’t change their behavior.
  2. A spouse is abusive. You can’t just pray that a spouse will stop smacking you or calling you every name in the book. Jesus Himself said that He was sent here in part “to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). Get out, and if he wants to stop being abusive, he can change, win your heart back, and renew the marriage covenant.

Should you pray for your marriage? Absolutely! Just don’t stop there. Also actively work toward resolving the problems you face.

Should you pray for your marriage? Absolutely! Just don't stop there. Click To Tweet

This shift started me on the path to healing and happiness in my own marriage: I stopped expecting God to swoop down and fix it all and started applying Scripture and the insights He showed me to my daily life. I continued to pray, but I also got off my butt and put real effort toward making our marriage better. Or rather, making me better, since I was the only one I could change.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

blog post title + black-and-white image of woman praying (close-up) - sized for Pinterest